Positive Semidefinite Metric Learning with Boosting

Shen, Chunhua, Kim, Junae, Wang, Lei, Hengel, Anton

Neural Information Processing Systems 

The learning of appropriate distance metrics is a critical problem in classification. In this work, we propose a boosting-based technique, termed BoostMetric, for learning a Mahalanobis distance metric. One of the primary difficulties in learning such a metric is to ensure that the Mahalanobis matrix remains positive semidefinite. Semidefinite programming is sometimes used to enforce this constraint, but does not scale well. BoostMetric is instead based on a key observation that any positive semidefinite matrix can be decomposed into a linear positive combination of trace-one rank-one matrices.